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Dispute and harrassment

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220 views 1 replies latest reply: 04 September 2017

I am sorry if this is in the wrong section (I am new to this forum and this is long-winded)

I was a tenant for 12 months (AST), I rented a self contained ‘bungalow’ from the landlord which he had built himself – this is located in his front garden and is situated forward of his house, the fence, trees, plants and hedges disguise this. Before I commenced the tenancy he had told me via email to pay two months rent in advance instead of one months rent and one months deposit as he preferred it this way, mentioned it would make no difference to me as it would be the same amount either way and if I was to end the tenancy the last two months I would not pay anything. He requested cash payment against a signed receipt and I have kept all of this, emails, letters and text.

I gave him two months notice to end the tenancy (utilising the six months break clause), he then sent an email telling me to continue to pay the rent in the usual manner and on my last day he would return the deposit to me providing the property was in its original condition; this totally contradicted the email in regards to two months rent in advance.

There is a clause in the agreement that states to ‘permit the landlord and all authorised by him during the last six weeks to provide viewing for potential tenant at reasonable times of the day by prior appointment.’ He tried to arrange viewings before the six weeks which I declined, this was rearranged within the six weeks and the first viewings took place from 1pm-7.30pm and I received a text ‘all done for the day thank you for immaculate condition’. A few days later I left the property around 7pm and when I returned at 9pm I found a folded paper in front of door which stated ‘I have arranged viewings tomorrow from 4pm-8.30pm please acknowledge’. I replied back and said ‘okay but cannot guarantee the place will be as it was before because I am in the middle of packing’ I did not receive a response. Two days later I came back from work at 8pm to find that the curtains were drawn wide open and my iPad box (no iPad inside as I took it work) had been moved so I text the landlord without sounding like I was making an accusation I simply asked if anyone had entered the property whilst I was at work due to the curtains being drawn open, the text did not show a delivered sign and neither did I receive a reply.

Three days later (now a Saturday) I received a text from the landlord at 7pm stating ‘I have to provide viewings tomorrow morning at 11.30’. I replied and politely declined it as I stated it was short notice and I started to notice this pattern, I did however ask that it be arranged for another day with reasonable 24 hour notice. He replied back text after text stating he had given me notice when he replied back to the question about the curtains (these text did not come through) he sent it to me again and the reply was ‘Hi sorry I did it I have had a couple of viewings, two more tomorrow and one on Sunday will confirm the time.’ He sent further text messages saying ‘what’s wrong with you?’ I had not replied due to the multiple text I was receiving and in all honesty I felt scared he only lives a few steps away, more text came through ‘just let us in’. He continued to bombard me with text and at the moment I rang my friend to come and help me move the rest of my belongings. At 11pm another text came through ‘I have no option but to take your silence as an agreement to enter the property tomorrow’ and at 4.50am I received a text from him saying ‘thanks’ which woke me up – I stayed at my friends house so in terms of the viewings to take place I do not know if they went ahead or not

I replied 4 hours later and stood my ground I was assertive and let him know that his behaviour is unacceptable, to kindly refrain from texting me at inappropriate hours and highlighted that he entered the property without permission. He replied a few hours later and stated that a specific clause states that during the last six weeks he can enter without permission, I have the tenancy agreement which does not state this, he also stated that I was in arrears and could charge interesr according to a specific clause which also does not state this (unless he has done to different ones and not a copy). I replied with what it actually states word for word and that I had paid two months rent in advance and received no reply.

I continued to move my belongings and my friend claims she saw him watching through the window, even though the tenancy agreement was due to end I left four days earlier as I was very uncomfortable. I have been in contact with CAB, Shelter and the local authority in regards to this in the last few days before the tenancy actually ended.

He has now since then requested a moderate amount of money for refurbishment and sent pictures via email, also wants to commence court proceedings, I showed it to CAB who state that its normal wear and tear and not damage. I have also found out that he did not have planning permission for the outbuilding (shed) and there are cases where landlords have been prosecuted or been forced to demolish it by the council because they have rented it out as a primary accommodation to a tenant and not used it as a gym,  office or storage. He also claims I paid one months rent and one months deposit but did not put the deposit in a scheme which I have checked, I could be wrong but I felt harassed by his communication and entering without permission. I am going around in circles a little bit and CAB and Shelter have been helpful but as I work I find it very difficult to get the most out of them. 

Does anyone have any advice, thank you.

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In regards to the treatment from your landlord, it’s certainly not fantastic landlord behaviour. Whether you can file any harassment charger, I don’t know. 

However, you can certainly do something about your deposit. 

If the landlord goes back on your agreement and claims that you have paid a deposit at the beginning of the tenancy, then the rules for protecting the deposit apply.  

This means that the landlord is required to protect your deposit in 30 days from the payment day and serve you with papers issues by the scheme, also called prescribed information.  

If the landlord DOES NOT do this procedure properly, you can claim a compensation from the courts. Depending on the severity you can be awarded between 1-3x the deposit amount. Provided you sufficiently back your claim with evidence, the court cannot deny you compensation, they can only moderate the amount.  

So, I suggest you use our tool – the tenancy deposit checker and see if any scheme has records of your deposit. If your deposit is not registered, you can claim compensation.

Here is the link – http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/tenancy-deposit-checker/

If your landlord does another 180-degree turn, you have the sufficient evidence to prove that two months of rent have been pre-paid at the beginning of the tenancy, therefore you’re not in any rent arrears. 

Hope this helps !

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